Last week, Ramesh Ponnuru wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “The Year of the (Pro-Life) Woman”. As his wonderful editorial pointed out, despite the fact there are millions of pro-life women throughout the United States, only a handful are elected to federal office – just 13 in the House and a sad zero in the Senate.
The good news is that is changing. From coast to coast, from conservatives states such as South Carolina to liberal states like California , pro-life women are stepping forward and are not only running, but winning.
Also, while 2010 may the year of the pro-life woman, it will only be the beginning. We are not going anywhere. Pro-life women are here to stay.
As the mother of two adopted daughters, I understand how sacred life is. To me, it goes beyond a political issue – it is also a moral, ethical and personal issue. Furthermore, it is the essence of our existence — if we do not respect and protect life from conception to natural death, there is no such thing as liberty – for a fundamental right to life is at the heart of true liberty.
For that reason, I am proud of my 100% pro-life voting record in the Kansas House, where I sponsored and voted for numerous pieces of pro-life legislation. I sponsored resolutions urging Kansas to participate in National Adoption Day, to urge Congress to fund ultrasound equipment at crisis pregnancy centers, and to review the abortion drug RU 486. I also voted in favor of numerous other pro life bills, including for operation standards at abortion clinics and for a ban on destructive embryonic stem cell research – issues that separate me from my opponent.
For some, being a “pro-life” candidate has simply meant a willingness to vote right when the light is shining the brightest so that in the next election, one could slap the pro-life label on a piece of campaign literature.
To me, the cause of life is much more important than one election victory and even a correct vote on an issue. In order for the pro-life cause to advance, for hearts to be changed and pro-life policies to be enacted, American needs pro-life leaders – particularly female leaders – who will truly stand up and be the voice for the voiceless — a consistent advocate for innocent human life.
The wonderful news is that this is occurring in races across the country. The emergence of female pro-life candidates – and their subsequent victories – shows that in 2010 and beyond, the pro-life cause is advancing, after decades of slow yet steady progress. As I go door to door here in the 3rd District, the question I receive most frequently is if I’m pro-life – mostly from women.
Of course, this would not have been possible without the leadership of those who have had the courage to step forward before us, dating back to Susan B. Anthony and her persistent advocacy for the unborn. Today, in Congress, Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers and others are following in Susan B. Anthony’s footsteps, having the courage to stand up and passionately advocate for life. Here in Kansas , Mary Pilcher Cook, Brenda Landwehr, Judy Morrison, Peggy Mast and others have all been in the trenches consistently.
And it goes without saying that Sarah Palin’s leadership, strength and grace under pressure has inspired pro-life women nationwide to get involved — either by joining a campaign, or in some cases, running on our own.
Of course, the most important point in all of this is not simply electoral victories or some kind of “Girl Power” pride, but that electoral success by pro-life women (and men) means that the people are hearing and understand the pro-life message – and as a result, innocent life is being respected and protected.
I am so proud of Carly Fiorina, Sharron Angle, Nikki Haley, and so many others who are stepping forward to run and having such success. It is a tremendous honor and responsibility to be alongside such great pro-life women. Together, whether we are running for Governor, Congress, or the state legislature, I believe our collective impact will be a lasting one.
Patricia Lightner is a Republican running for Congress in the 3rd District of Kansas. She has been endorsed by Kansans for Life, Concerned Women PAC, Catholic Families for America, nine conservative state legislators, Independence Caucus, and Change the Congress in 2010 PAC. You can join her 5,400 fans on Facebook or support her by visiting her website at http://www.patricialightner.com.